Is the Germany network on the brink of collapse?


from Claus Ludewig
The German network project by ex-transport minister Andreas Scheuer is in danger of failing. Several charging network operators are against the state-sponsored expansion of charging parks.

In June 2021, the federal government under Angela Merkel passed the so-called Fast Charging Act, which is intended to support a publicly accessible network of DC fast chargers for electric cars. According to the law, fast charging parks with several charging stations are to be set up at 1,000 locations, with the companies involved having to set up the charging stations using a grid. The distance between the locations is ten minutes. As the Handelsblatt reports, resistance to the tender is now forming. Several Charging network operators want to stop the German network.

Is the Germany network illegal?

Allego boss Ulf Schulte considers the Germany network to be a planned economy instead of a market economy and fears that the planned Germany network will compete with existing charging parks. After all, the planned network has a breathing upper price limit of 44 cents per kWh, since the federal government subsidizes this. Many operators of fast charging stations cannot keep up with such prices. Ionity charges around 79 cents per kWh, EnBW comes to 55 cents per kWh.

State aid is only permitted in the event of market failure, according to the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries. Several charging network operators are convinced that the German network is state aid that has to be approved by the EU’s competition watchdogs. The project by ex-Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer is said to violate European law. At 28 percent of the planned locations there are already privately built HPC charging stations with a charging capacity of more than 150 kilowatts. A maximum charging capacity of 300 kilowatts is prescribed for the German network, with the National Control Center for Charging Infrastructure taking over the coordination.

Although the expansion of the charging infrastructure has indeed made good progress recently, there are traffic jams at fast chargers, especially during the main travel season. If 15 million e-cars are really to be roaming through Germany by 2030, there will also need to be sufficient public charging stations so that those interested can take away their fear of range. According to the National Control Center for Charging Infrastructure, there would have to be up to 843,000 publicly accessible charging points in Germany if 15 million e-cars were to drive on the roads. By the beginning of December 2021, there were only 50,901 publicly accessible charging points in Germany. Only 2,936 charging stations in Germany can charge with at least 150 kW. Alternatively, there are wall boxes with which you can charge at home with up to 22 kW, provided you have a garage or carport.

Also worth reading: E-cars: There are so many charging points in Germany

Collection of the planned Germany network for users of e-cars:

  • Several charging network operators want to stop the German network and are bothered by the subsidized, low price of 44 cents per kWh.
  • The project by ex-transport minister Andreas Scheuer is said to violate European law. It envisages 1,000 publicly accessible fast charging parks with multiple charging stations. The charging parks should always be spaced 10 minutes apart.
  • State aid is only permitted in the event of market failure, according to the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries.
  • Currently, just over 50,000 charging points are publicly accessible in Germany. According to the National Control Center for Charging Infrastructure, there would have to be up to 843,000 publicly accessible charging points in Germany if 15 million e-cars were to drive on the roads. After all, a well-developed charging infrastructure takes away the range anxiety of those interested in e-cars.

Source: Handelsblatt